Network access control (NAC) technologies have traditionally been used to control access to network resources and to reduce malware propagation through user and device authentication. As networks continue to evolve in complexity, however, encompassing ever more devices, resource access methods and applications, there has been a growing need for real time visibility across the network as well as endpoints, users and applications in order to efficiently protect resources and remediate threats or policy violations both before and after they are allowed on the network.

Consequently, in recent years, NAC technologies have morphed into platforms that combine traditional capabilities with functionality that caters to more advanced requirements covering mobile device use and security, endpoint compliance and security threat management. These next-generation NAC platforms have matured to such an extent that they provide organisations with actionable insight for discovering, categorising and assessing the security state of users and devices.

As a result, next-generation NAC can readily address rogues: unauthorised users, unknown or unwanted devices, and unsanctioned applications. Not only can they isolate rogues from the network, leveraging pre-connect and post-connect security intelligence, but they can respond faster to a wider variety of threats, vulnerabilities, and non-conforming behaviour than can conventional discovery and manual response approaches.

They provide the pervasive network security that organisations require by continuously monitoring networks and devices that connect to them for security exposures and cyber attacks and for allowing action to be taken based on policy.

Many organisations – across all industries – are grappling with the need for better network and endpoint security in light of today’s compliance requisites and growing threat landscape. Many also wish to embrace new technology developments such as mobile usage and the consumerisation of IT to better support their users. Here are some fast facts explaining how next-generation NAC can help:

  • Next-generation NAC technologies provide visibility across the entire network to ensure that rogue devices, applications and users are brought under control and security issues can be efficiently resolved.
  • Through continuous monitoring, organisations can ensure that their network access and endpoint compliance policies remain enforced at all times.
  • NAC technologies not only operate in a pre-connect mode, but can also operate post-admission to provide intelligence and control without impeding user experience.
  • Integration with other infrastructure and security tools, such as wireless, mobile device management, security information and event management, vulnerability assessment, and advanced threat detection systems provides actionable security intelligence and more efficient response to a range of issues.
  • Centralised management ensures that implementations can be effectively managed and policies enforced. It ensures that all events and activities can be recorded, approved actions can be taken, and audit trails and reports generated to aid significantly in external compliance and internal governance requirements.

NAC technologies have evolved to become essential tools for ensuring that only known and appropriate devices, applications and users can access network resources, whilst keeping those that pose a security threat off the network, or limited to only necessary resources, until issues are resolved. They improve an organisation’s risk posture and are key for aiding organisations in achieving their compliance and governance obligations, whilst allowing them to embrace new, more effective ways of working in a secure and efficient manner.